California’s Governor Newsom announced three new programs this week designed to increase support and resources for the state’s seniors. First, the existing Friendship Line that was available to seniors in some counties has been expanded statewide. It is a ‘warmline’ that will take inbound calls from seniors who need connection and support. The newly created Social Bridging Project leverages United Airlines’ call center workers, among other groups, to proactively call seniors who are safely isolating alone at home. And a clever win-win-win program called Restaurants Deliver will pay local restaurants to re-hire or keep on their employees to deliver healthy meals to seniors three times a day, using food bought from local California farmers. Seniors isolating at home and caregivers in San Diego who support seniors should be aware of these new programs designed to support older Californians during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors

Governor Newsom announced Friday, April 24th the launch of a first-in-the-nation “Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors” partnership with counties, cities, and Tribes. Restaurants Deliver has two purposes:

  • Help older and other adults at high risk from COVID-19 to stay home and stay healthy by delivering three nutritious meals a day, and
  • Provide essential economic stimulus to local businesses and workers struggling to stay afloat during the COVID crisis.
  • As the local programs get established in the next few days, more information will be provided on this page.”

Social Bridging Project

Governor Newsom’s office announced on April 24th that “The Social Bridging Project will mobilize more than 1,000 callers to proactively reach out to older Californians who are isolating at home. The project will combat social isolation through direct, one-on-one communication with older Californians, many living alone and isolated. Listos California is partnering with the California Department of Aging, United Airlines, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), and Sacramento State University to make calls to older Californians. Callers will check on the individual’s well-being, connect them to resources, and connect with them on a personal level.”

Friendship Line

Per a press release on April 23, 2020 from the California Department of Aging, “The need for expanded services to address isolation and loneliness is both long-standing and rising. Older adults were the first Californians to be asked to stay at home and are saving lives by their leadership and service – but older adults cannot live in social isolation while in physical isolation, given the profound risks to both physical and mental health. Making it easy for all adults to dial the “Friendship Line CA” (1-888-670-1360) any time for a friendly conversation, when feeling a little lonely, or when in crisis, will help Californians continue to stay home, stay healthy, and stay connected in the tough and uncertain months ahead.

The Friendship Line is the only accredited, 24-hour toll-free crisis line in the country for people aged 60 years and older, and adults living with disabilities. It primarily functions as a “warm line” to provide a friendly listening ear and emotional support for those secluded seniors facing loneliness, isolation, or anxiety, including listening to their increasing fears and concerns about COVID-19. Both the new toll-free line for California (1-888-670-1360) and the previously established toll-free line (1-800-971-0016) will take inbound calls, as well as offer pre-scheduled outbound call service. New, first-time, callers are encouraged to dial the new toll-free line (1-888-670-1360) first. The Friendship Line is run by the Institute on Aging (IoA), one of California’s largest nonprofits dedicated to health and community programs for older adults and adults living with disabilities. The Friendship Line has previously contracted with some local AAAs, including in San Francisco, Santa Clara, and San Mateo Counties.”

Additional Resources for California Seniors and Caregivers

  • Reach out to California’s COVID-19 hotline for questions about coronavirus: 833-422-4255 (833-4CA-4ALL).
  • Enter your location into org to find local services, such as nutrition, financial, health care, and housing assistance. Every community has an Aging and Adult Info Line to connect to aging and adult services: 1-800-510-2020.
  • Visit the California Department of Aging’s COVID-19 page for a list of resources for older and other at-risk adults.
  • Do you suspect someone is being neglected or abused? Call Adult Protective Services at 833-401-0832.
  • Suspect fraud? AARP has a Fraud Watch Network Helpline: 877-908-3360.
  • Concerned about someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s or their caregiver? Call the Alzheimer’s Association: 800-272-3900.
  • Older Californians who need someone to talk to can call the new statewide Friendship Line at 1-888-670-1360.